Politicians’ defection from one political party to the other in Nigeria may have taken a new turn, and especially that of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu. The politician recently jumped ship from the All progressives Congress (APC) opposition party to the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in his bids to becoming the governor of Adamawa state. It is difficult to understand why Mr Ribadu who in 2011, was a Presidential candidate for the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) would now stoop so low to want to become governor. Ribadu had once criticised the PDP led government and said it was a ‘sinking ship,’ could it be that the team leader of the ship has successfully rescued the ‘ship’ from ‘sinking’ and he now think it is time he joined them?
On 9th April 2014, Ribadu had quashed rumours about his defection to PDP, he wrote on his Facebook Page, “I felt personally insulted by rumours making the rounds in this space over my alleged intention to dump my party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). There is no iota of truth in that malicious falsehood being peddled by persons who do not wish me and my great party any good.
I am a committed member of APC and I have no reason to lose confidence in the party.
For the past seven days, I have been in my state of Adamawa helping to see to the smooth conduct of ward congresses and other coming elections.
I urge all my friends here to disregard that rumour as what it is; cheap blackmail from mischievous persons.”
I want to believe that there is freedom of association. Mr Ribadu is free to join any association he wishes, but I wonder how the people he won their hearts over when he was the EFCC chairman would feel about the decision. These are people who could vouch he would never do such; they love the fact that he is a technocrat than a politician.
Ribadu’s tenure as the Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC) boss was what many would like to remember about him; how he stepped on toes without any fear or favour, how corrupt politicians were charged to court and prosecuted. We read in the news how those corrupt politicians’ biggest fear was the fear of EFCC boss-Nuhu Ribadu. I still remember what he said about them. He is unequivocally the best chairman EFCC have had till date.
Today EFCC has not prosecuted any high profile politician for anything. It has become a toothless bulldog. No one recalls who is in charge of the EFCC anymore, and you hardly hear or read about it activities. In Fact, since Mr Jonathan became President, politicians are no longer punished for corruption. This does not come as a surprise since our dear President once said there is a difference between stealing and corruption.
The way politicians defect from one party to the other In Nigeria is very alarming. Defection is done without consultations from the people at the grass root levels and constituencies. Their actions are based on their expected personal gains. Since politics and winning an election goes with the majority votes; they are quickly accepted by the new party without a second thought.
Now that Ribadu has dumped APC to join PDP, and most of the politicians he once labelled as corrupt are now in the same party with him, one is left to wonder what will happen next. Now that he has joined them does that make them clean? Does it mean that his views about them have changed? I certainly think Ribadu might be dining with wolves in sheep’s clothing. He has to be very cautious, and watch his back.
Could it be that President Jonathan has promised Ribadu more than being the governor of Adamawa State? I think there is more to this than meets the eye. We certainly do not know what ‘carrot’ was dangled before the former EFCC boss to make him feel like a new bride to PDP. Ribadu wrote on his Facebook page on the 18th August, 2014. “I wish to assure you that my defection is in pursuit of a good cause, and never out of any selfish interests as portrayed by a section.” If it is for a good cause or not, only time will tell.
Even though Ribadu was once a Presidential candidate, his political clout has been a light weight compared to that of Buba Marwa. The latter is another governorship aspirant under the same party, PDP. If Ribadu wins the governorship ticket with the backing of the Presidency, Ribadu should win the next by-election with the same machinery.
His integrity as a former EFCC boss should help him win regardless in my opinion, but I doubt if the people of Adamawa ‘see’ him as their next messiah.
Ribadu, though was APC member, was quiet throughout the impeachment saga of former Governor Muritala Nyako. That speaks volume, but he cannot be faulted for Nyako’s woes. APC, on the other hand, did not fight to keep a valuable member like Ribadu; I doubt if he was a core member of APC.
My hope for Ribadu is to succeed as he decides to wine and dine with the same politicians he once accused of stealing tax payers money. Who would have thought Ribadu, who was once an anti-graft law enforcer, who chased the corrupt governors around for many years, will soon become another governor in the same party with the same corrupt politicians?
I just hope PDP is not out to prove a point; the point that there is no clean ‘guy’ in politics. I hope this will not be a set-up by PDP to make Ribadu a scapegoat and dump him. I hope Ribadu himself will not regret his decision to serve his people. I hope he will not one day be seen like the rest of the corrupt politicians. I hope Ribadu will prove many doubters wrong by turning things around in his state. I hope Ribadu will be an influence and the change Nigeria needs. I hope in the end his integrity will be intact.
Olaitan Ajiboye is a socio-political commentator
Views expressed are solely author’s